Oct 10, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Texas surpasses 50,000 migrants bused to major cities

Where Texas bused approximately 49,900 migrants
Data: Texas governor's office; Map: Deena Zaidi/Axios Visuals

Texas has bused more than 50,000 migrants from the border to major U.S. cities across the country — and the effort is ramping up.

Why it matters: The state-sponsored initiative has accelerated the movement of migrants and asylum seekers north, strained destination cities' shelter resources and prompted their Democratic leaders to dramatically increase pressure on President Biden to help.

Driving the news: Texas, the state with the most consistent busing program, has sent more than 1,130 buses north since April 2022, according to statistics from Gov. Greg Abbott's office provided to Axios.

  • Abbott blames Biden for the influx of migrants at the border. "It's a crisis. It's chaotic and it must stop," he said during a recent trip to New York. Until Biden secures the border, he said, "Texas is going to continue to use every tool that we can to secure the border the best that we can," the AP reported.
  • Arizona has also used state funds to move more than 15,000 migrants and asylum seekers within the state or to other states this year alone.

Zoom in: Thousands of migrants in Chicago — many of whom have been bused there from Texas — are waiting for a spot in one of the city's overcrowded shelters. Last week, as many as 14 buses arrived in a single day, according to city officials.

  • Denver has been forced to cut the time some are allowed to stay in shelters due to the increased pace of arrivals, and school teachers are juggling an influx of English language learners, Axios Denver reported.
  • New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently traveled to Latin America to discourage migrants from going to New York.
  • Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced he and his team plan to visit the border and talk about the city's challenges and "the forecasting of a brutal winter," Axios Chicago reported.

By the numbers: New York City has received more migrants from the Texas state-sponsored busing program than any other city, with more than 18,500 arriving on over 390 buses since August 2022.

  • Chicago comes in second, with over 13,500 migrants on 290 buses.
  • D.C. has received more than 12,500 migrants.
  • Denver as well as Philadelphia have received more than 3,200 migrants each from Texas in less than a year.
  • Texas only added Los Angeles as a destination in June. More than 940 migrants and asylum seekers have been sent there on over 20 buses.

The big picture: Texas isn't the only state to transport migrants without visas to other, predominantly-Democratic areas.

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has infamously flown dozens of migrants and asylum seekers to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts and Sacramento, California, over the past year and a half.
  • Arizona has transported more than 15,000 people within the state and to other states since the start of the year, according to a spokesperson for Gov. Katie Hobbs (D).
  • Former Gov. Doug Ducey (R) started it off by busing thousands of asylum seekers to Washington, D.C., last year.

Plus: Some cities are sending migrants to other cities, too.

  • Chicago, for example, has also become a top destination for migrants out of Denver.

Axios Chicago's Monica Eng, Axios Denver's Esteban Hernandez and Axios Phoenix's Jeremy Duda contributed reporting.

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